Earth Day Parade and Festival in Vancouver: Past & Alternative Events

Every April 22, people around the world celebrate Earth Day. This special day is all about making everyone more aware of how important it is to take care of our planet. For a long time, the city of Vancouver was a big part of this event. They put on a parade and festival where everyone could come together. It was a way to show that the whole community wanted to help make the Earth a better place for years to come.

This article discusses the Earth Day Parade and Festival that used to happen in Vancouver. You’ll discover how it began, why it was important, and the lessons it shared. Even though the parade is no longer held since 2020, we will tell you about other exciting Earth Day events in British Columbia, so you can still find ways to get involved and make a difference.

What is Earth Day?

Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970, in the United States. Senator Gaylord Nelson initiated it as an environmental teach-in, motivated by the environmental degradation observed in the 1960s. The event aimed to bring environmental issues into the national spotlight, leading to the establishment of important environmental laws and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Global Movement

Since its inception, Earth Day has evolved into a global movement. More than a billion people participate in activities each year, and it is celebrated in over 190 countries, making it the largest secular observance in the world. The day serves as a powerful reminder of the urgent need to protect our planet and encourages people to take action within their communities.

Raising Awareness

Earth Day focuses on various environmental issues, including climate change, pollution, deforestation, and loss of biodiversity. Each year, a different theme highlights the most pressing environmental challenges, and participants engage in activities like cleanups, tree planting, and educational workshops.

Earth Day Parade and Festival in Vancouver

Since 2011, Vancouver’s Commercial Drive has come alive with the annual Earth Day Parade and Festival. This vibrant event was a delightful blend of education, entertainment, and community spirit. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore some key editions of the festival:

April 22, 2011Commercial Drive to Britannia FieldParade, live music, family-friendly tents, guest speakers
April 22, 2012Commercial Drive to Grandview ParkWorkshops, NGO tents, entertainment, focus on urgent climate action
April 20, 2013Commercial Drive to Grandview ParkParade, educational activities, performances by local artists, theme “1.5 To Stay Alive”
April 22, 2017Commercial Drive to Grandview ParkPerformances by Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Ta’Kaiya Blaney, educational booths, sustainability workshops
April 20, 2019Commercial Drive to Grandview ParkFocus on local climate action, parade, festival activities
Canceled due to COVID-19Event canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic

2011 Inception

  • Date: April 22, 2011
  • Location: Commercial Drive to Britannia Field

The first Earth Day Parade in Vancouver aimed to raise awareness about climate change and promote positive environmental actions. Activities included a parade, live music, family-friendly tents, and guest speakers.

2012 Event

  • Date: April 22, 2012
  • Location: Commercial Drive to Grandview Park

Building on the success of the inaugural event, the 2012 edition featured workshops, NGO tents, entertainment, and a focus on urgent climate action.

2013 Event

  • Date: April 20, 2013
  • Location: Commercial Drive to Grandview Park

The theme was “1.5 To Stay Alive,” emphasizing the importance of limiting global temperature rise. The event included a parade, educational activities, and performances by local artists.

2017 Event

  • Date: April 22, 2017
  • Location: Commercial Drive to Grandview Park

The 7th Annual Earth Day Parade featured performances by Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Ta’Kaiya Blaney, and others. The festival included educational booths and sustainability workshops.

2019 and 2020 Events

  • 2019: The event continued its tradition with a focus on local climate action.
  • 2020: Unfortunately, the event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why the Event Was Important

The Earth Day Parade and Festival aimed to raise awareness about climate change, a critical issue impacting global ecosystems and human societies. By educating the public about the causes and effects of climate change, the event encouraged individuals to adopt more sustainable lifestyles and advocate for policies that reduce carbon emissions.

The event empowered youth to take an active role in environmental advocacy. It provided a platform for young people to voice their concerns and share their ideas for creating a sustainable future. Youth participation was crucial, as they would inherit the consequences of today’s environmental decisions.

The Earth Day Parade and Festival brought together diverse community members, fostering a sense of solidarity and collective action. By participating in the event, individuals and organizations could connect with others who shared their commitment to environmental protection, building a stronger, more resilient community.

Main Activities and Features

Parades and Festivals

Each edition of the Earth Day Parade featured a procession through Vancouver’s streets, concluding with a festival that included educational booths, workshops, and performances. The parade was a vibrant display of community spirit and environmental activism.

Educational Activities

Workshops and NGO tents provided information on various environmental issues and sustainability practices. These activities helped participants learn about the challenges facing the planet and the actions they could take to make a difference.


Live performances by local musicians, artists, and cultural groups were a staple of the festival, enhancing the celebratory atmosphere. Entertainment activities were designed to engage and inspire participants of all ages.

Guest Speakers

Prominent environmental activists and community leaders delivered speeches to inspire and educate participants. These speakers shared their experiences and insights, motivating others to take action in their own lives.

Event Goals and Messages

1. Limiting Global Temperature Rise

A recurring theme of the Earth Day Parade and Festival was the critical goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius to prevent catastrophic climate impacts. The event emphasized the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to renewable energy sources.

2. Fossil Fuel Reduction

The event advocated for reducing fossil fuel dependency and promoting renewable energy sources. Participants were encouraged to support policies and initiatives that decreased reliance on coal, oil, and natural gas.

3. Community and Global Action

Encouraging local and global grassroots movements to combat climate change and promote environmental justice was a key message of the event. The Earth Day Parade and Festival aimed to inspire individuals and communities to take collective action for a sustainable future.

Alternative Earth Day Events in Vancouver and BC

Party for the Planet in Surrey

Location: City Hall Plaza, Surrey

BC’s largest Earth Day celebration with live music, workshops, and a sustainable marketplace. It’s a family-friendly event that focuses on environmental education and community engagement.

Party for the Planet in Surrey

Land, Sea, Sky Earth Day Celebration

Location: Vanier Park, Vancouver

A joint event by the Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver Maritime Museum, and H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. Activities include eco-poetry readings, space technology presentations, and storytelling sessions suitable for all ages.

Vanier Park, Vancouver

Earth Day at Stanley Park

Location: Stanley Park Ecology Society

The EcoStewards event includes hands-on activities such as invasive species removal and art workshops using natural materials. It’s a great way to learn about and contribute to the park’s ecology.

Earth Day at Stanley Park

Richmond Earth Week

Location: Various locations in Richmond

A week-long celebration with activities such as nature walks, workshops, and children’s activities focused on sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Man in Richmond Park

Earth Day Beach Cleanup & Cold Plunge

Location: Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver

This event combines a beach cleanup with a refreshing cold plunge, promoting both environmental care and community wellness. Supplies for the cleanup are provided, and the cold plunge is a fun, invigorating way to end the activity.

girls cleaning the beach

How to Celebrate Earth Day

To celebrate Earth Day, you can participate in local events, engage in cleanup activities, plant trees, or learn more about sustainability practices. Organizations like offer a variety of resources and activities to help you get involved.

Although the Earth Day Parade and Festival in Vancouver are no longer held, the spirit of Earth Day remains strong in the city. There are many other ways to celebrate and take action for the environment. Whether you participate in alternative events across BC or take individual action, Earth Day serves as a powerful reminder of our collective responsibility toward our planet. It’s a day to celebrate the beauty of Earth, raise awareness about environmental challenges, and inspire action to create a more sustainable future for all.

So, get involved, get informed, and join the movement to protect our precious planet.